Herald: The divine side of art – Goa’s Ganesh idol makers
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The divine side of art – Goa’s Ganesh idol makers

12 Sep 2018 04:45am IST

Report by
Yogesh Nagvenkar

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12 Sep 2018 04:45am IST

Report by
Yogesh Nagvenkar

Leave a comment

Idol-making and selling is an integral part of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, especially in Goa, a place that is home to families that have their roots in the art of idol-making. Café showcases some of these artistes of Goa

Goa is a land of cultures and traditions that have

evolved over thousands of years without losing their true essence. The credit for this goes to our ancestors for keeping them alive and shining. History tells us about the various empires that ruled Goa that also laid certain emphasis on our culture and identity.

There are certain traditions that have been carried forward with a lot of compassion. Ganesh Chaturthi is once such festival in Goa that dates back to ages and has been celebrated by Goans with full passion and faith. Goa is one of the few places where Ganesh Chaturthi brings huge families together. Lord Ganesha, the patron deity of Goan Hindus, is worshipped with full faith before beginning any new venture in India, making him the Supreme deity.

The festival commences with every family bringing home a Ganesh idol made of clay for worship. The idols are usually purchased from the ‘Ganapati Chitra Shala’ situated in the respective location. There is an age old tradition that each family follows of getting the clay idol from the same Chitra Shala patronised by their ancestors.

The harsh reality today is that the art of clay Ganapati idol-making is gradually diminishing and promoting this seasonal art is the need or the hour. Each individual has to play this role voluntarily. Café highlights some enterprising individuals who have been passionately driving the Ganapati Chitra Shala.

Tulshidas Naik, a 77-year-old charismatic gentleman, has been into the business of Ganapati idol-making for the past 53 years. An ex-railway employee, Tushidas has been running the business as a passion from the age of eight years. At the age of 18, he took up this passion seriously,thereby becoming a professional idol maker. After getting married, he settled in Fatorda, Margao and expanded his business from there. Today,receives a lot of orders from many Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandals because of his artistic skill. Tulshidas’s son, Pritam Naik, has taken the initiative of taking the family art and legacy ahead with his involvement in the business. This family dedication has attracted clients from different parts of the state as well as Mumbai and even Karwar. Tulshidas has been happy with the government schemes that he can avail of but he is upset with the traders from outside Goa who have created a monopoly in Goa thereby affecting the local artistes and also the rich local clay art. He feels that the government has to take some steps to create a control mechanism on this issue.

Sahil Natekar, a 25-year-old young engineer from Fatorda has taken the initiative of taking his family art business ahead. He considers it a matter of pride as he is carrying forward something that has come down from his ancestors. He solely does it as a passion and not for money. Natekars have been into this business for the last 35 years, starting with their first shop in Panjim. They do not take any government aid for their business as they feel they are satisfied with what they have. Sahil feels that in today’s competitive market, the client is always satisfied with the art and service of Natekar Ganapati Chitra Shala.

Damodar V Priolkar,a passionate artist from Margao, has been in the sculpting business since his childhood. The Priolkars have been in this business for over a hundred years and Damodar wants to take the legacy ahead. He has also inculcated the same passion in his sons; Sagar, who works abroad, helps him in this business when he is down in Goa. For him too, it is more of a passionate pursuit. Damodar feels there is a big opportunity for the youth today to get in the art business but at the same time, consistency and hardwork will play a major role in building it. He has beenconsistently involved in making Ganesh idols for many Sarvajanik Madals.

Ratnakar Lotlikar from Margao has been passionately running his Ganesh idol business that was started by his great grandfather. For over 120 years, the Lotlikars have been running this business. He feels that this trade is diminishing and therefore the youth have to branch out with it in order to better their scope. His daughter, Vibha Nagzarkar, has voluntarily taken the initiative of taking this business ahead.

Damodar G Narvekar from Margao has been in this business for last 41 years. His extremely hardworking attitude hasled him to success in whatever business venture he has undertaken till date. He feels that there is huge potential in this business for the youth, provided they understand that this is a seasonal business due to which, the income would be seasonal. In his opinion, there is a hue competition in this business in city areas but due to his goodwill in the market, the clients always prefer his art and attitude. His young son, Omkar D Narvekar, has entered into this business and has plans of taking it to the next level in near future.

Datta Juvekarhas been consistently running his business in Betul for the last 60years. His son, Sachin, has been helping his father for many years now. Sachin feels that despite the positive support from the government, the artists still need more financial support due to the manual nature of the job. He is very strict when it come to clay art and feels that the government should ban POP idols as they are an environmental hazard. He appreciates the move of Karnataka Government that made it compulsory to make clay idols.

Narayan Bhisse from Quepem is another passionate artist,who has setup Ganesh idol shops in Quepem, Savordem and Margao. The Bhise family has been in this business for over a century, consistently upgrading the business venture year by year. They have also been involved in organising dramas and other shows in many parts of Goa. He feels that the government has to take steps in simplifying and speeding the process of subsidy payments. He believes that the youth should take this business as a passion rather then thinking from a competitive standpoint. His sons, Dattadas and Pradosh, have taken this business to greater heights today.

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